June: Neha Gupta Picture - The HALO Awards 2013

June: Neha Gupta

Neha Gupta, a 17-year-old high school senior from Yardley, Pa., has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of orphans at home and abroad. As a young child, Gupta began volunteering with her family at a local orphanage in her family's hometown during their yearly trips to northern India. Through this experience, Gupta was inspired to create an organization that would provide resources, aid and hope to children without parents or guardians..

In 2005, at just nine years old, Gupta established Empower Orphans, a non-profit organization that focuses on supplying orphans with educational resources and supplies, and provides them with access to medical care including immunizations. Through Empower Orphans, Gupta established a library and computer center in a Philadelphia school and hospital respectively, and provided more than 150 van-loads of home furnishings to help improve the living conditions of inner-city Philadelphia children. In addition to building four libraries, three computer labs, a science lab and a sewing center in northern India, the organization has conducted a four-day eye and dental camp, sponsored surgeries for polio victims, spread awareness about oral cancer among children, and installed water wells and filtration systems in the region.

Gupta raised funds for Empower Orphans initially through making and selling wine charms and greeting cards at community events, and subsequently through donations from friends, family and corporate sponsors. To date, Empower Orphans has raised over $1.3 million and impacted more than 25,000 orphans in northern India and the Philadelphia area.

Gupta will attend Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University in the fall.

Check out our exclusive interview with Neha here!